I have labeled my son a “picky eater”. Much like his father, he prefers to eat only a few different foods, is reluctant to try new things, and detests condiments, sauces or dressings of any kind.
While not all of this is necessarily bad, as a parent, I see other kids happily gobbling down anything placed in front of them, my other child included. As a baby, I would introduce a food, he would spit it out, refuse it, etc., and then I wouldn’t offer it again thinking he didn’t like it and okay, off we go to the next new food to try. What I didn’t realize but later learned is that kids, as well as adults, often have to be exposed to a food 10-12 times before they can really decide if they like it. Familiarity is key. (When I pointed this out to my husband – a couple of weeks later, I caught him eating a banana. He has sworn he HATES bananas due to texture, but was giving this familiarity thing a try!)
Let me just say that this whole process is so foreign to me. I am an eater. To the point that I once had over 50 lbs to lose. Seriously?! I know my way around a fork. I think that may be why it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my son just has a narrow window of tastes right now.
As a result of this beating my head against the wall, I decided earlier this year to just relax about it. I always tried not to watch and wait to see if he’d try something new, or pressure or punish. But I know he was able to feel my frustration with his “selectivity”.
After a couple of months of “relaxing” about food, I’ve noticed some things. FIrst, when I do put a meal on the table, there is always at least 2 things he will eat and likes, plus 1 new thing. He doesn’t have to eat it, but does have to sniff it, lick it, or bite it. If he doesn’t like it after that, okay. So far he has tasted brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli (4 WHOLE BITES!) and zucchini bread. He passed on the brussels sprouts (so did his sister), but we’ve made it a game of “try the new crazy food mom has made!” They laugh and we keep it light as we chomp, crunch and tear through the food!
And more importantly, I’ve been remembering how far we’ve come. While at a restaurant, I overheard a mom ordering a root beer for her preschooler. In my mind, my first thought was NO! A preschooler doesn’t need soda! But I had to stop myself and take stock…(you know the verse: that pesky one about the stick in someone’s eye, but you’ve got a log in your own, or that other one about glass houses….)
It really wasn’t all that long ago that I drank soda at least weekly.
It really wasn’t all that long ago that I RARELY worked out.
It really wasn’t all that long ago that I could eat obscene amounts of really unhealthy food.
It wasn’t all that long ago that it didn’t occur to me that not every meal has to be a feast.
It wasn’t all that long ago that I didn’t know I should be reading ingredients and nutritional information.
It wasn’t all that long ago…for so many things.
It wasn’t all that long ago that I began MY journey. My journey isn’t going to be like anyone else’s.
Here’s to me getting that log out of my eye, setting my rocks down, and grabbing some Windex to wipe down my shiny glass house!